Lexus has opened order books for the UX 300e, its first electric production car, with final prices expected to start at £43,900.
The electric crossover's sub-£50,000 entry cost makes it eligible for the government's £3000 plug-in vehicle grant, unlike premium rivals including the Polestar 2 and Volvo XC40 Recharge P8.
The UX 300e will be sold in just one specification, but two option packs are available: Premium Plus, which bumps the price up to £47,400, and Takumi, which adds another £6100 and therefore exceeds the cut-off for the grant.
Standard features include automatic LED headlights, heated front seats, parking sensors, a reversing camera, 17in alloy wheels and smartphone integration.
Premium Plus adds leather seats, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, keyless entry and a wireless smartphone charger, while top-rung Takumi includes an upgraded sound system, a larger (10.3in) infotainment screen, a 360deg camera, 18in alloys and a sunroof.
Customer deliveries are set to get under way in 2021 and a final price list will be published in October.
The UX 300e, which was originally revealed at the Guangzhou motor show in China last year, arrives with a front-mounted motor that produces 201bhp and 221lb ft of torque. Energy comes from a 54.3kWh underfloor lithium ion battery offering a claimed range of 196 miles on the official WLTP testing regime.
The SUV is capable of DC rapid-charging from 0-80% in 52 minutes. It features a number of driving modes so that the performance of the motor can be better managed, along with paddles to alter the strength of the regenerative braking.
Lexus says the UX 300e, built on parent company Toyota’s GA-C platform, has been developed with a focus on on-road performance and the goal of offering a quiet and refined driving experience. To balance the new powertrain, extra bracing has been added over the regular UX hybrid and the dampers reworked to maintain optimum weight distribution.
According to Lexus, the UX 300e’s powertrain draws on learnings from the firm’s long-running hybrid system and features a temperature management system that balances power at low and high temperatures. It's capable of 0-62mph in 7.5sec and has a top speed of 100mph.
As part of the focus on refinement, Lexus has fitted extra insulation to reduce wind and road noise, along with an Active Sound Control system that “transmits natural, ambient sounds to communicate the driving conditions”.
Smartphone integration will allow owners to check battery charge and remaining range remotely, be notified when charging is complete and pre-condition the car using the climate controls.
The styling of the UX has been largely maintained, including the brand’s distinctive large front grille. The UX 300e does gain new aerodynamic-influenced wheels, with the charging port located on the rear pillar where the fuel filler usually is.
Lexus and parent firm Toyota will together launch three EVs by the end of 2021.